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Thread: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

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    Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    Howdy! Hoping for some advice from the experts.

    This question concerns customers who have very high CYA levels (unfortunately, more common than values that are in range.)

    Which product is best to recommend as an algae preventative? I have had VERY little success convincing people that they need to replace water.

    We have Poly60, which is what I've generally been selling. However, I'm curious about the Natural Chemistry products. The price for continued maintenance dosing is roughly equivalent between the Natural Chemistry product "PhosFree" and the Poly60. Between those two, my impression from reading the forums is that the Poly60 is the better recommendation between the two. Is this correct?

    There is also Natural Chemistry's "Pool Perfect + PhosFree." It's 15-20% more expensive than the regular PhosFree and claims to have many added benefits. What do you think of these claims? And if they are accurate, do they do enough to justify 20% more money? Keep in mind that most of my customers are very lax about general pool care and would likely consider it worth it if it made their lives easier.

    What exactly is Poly60? And how does it interact with chlorine? Will shock-level FAC destroy Poly60?

    Finally, concerning chemical clarifiers. After walking customers through shock-level FAC cycles (for whatever reason, most commonly swamp-to-pool conversions), often their pools still have some cloudiness issues, obviously. If I explain that they just need to open a can of POP, many are happy with that. However, some are more than happy to spend money to speed the filtration process up by a day or two. Do products like Natural Chemistry's Pool First Aid have any real value here?

    Thanks much to any who take the time to answer! As I've said before - if people are going to spend this much money maintaining their pools, they might as well have nice pools. It's unfortunate, but most people are simply not interested in explanations for my recommendations. I am convinced that even if I were to hand out fliers advertising this website and explaining the BBB method, 99% of them would just go to another pool store.

    (Funny anecdote from pool store life: A customer recently lodged a formal complaint against me with corporate because I encouraged him to purchase a quality test kit and test his own water daily. =). It's a crazy old world.)

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    PhosFree is not too painful if you start with a low phosphate level. PhosFree is both ridiculously expensive and often causes problems with cloudy water if you start with a high phosphate level. Where I am, there is lots of phosphate in the tap water and using PhosFree is just unbelievably expensive and endlessly annoying.

    Pool Perfect is great if you really need it, but hardly anyone really needs it. It accelerates the breakdown of some oils, and related stuff, that chlorine is slow to break down. If you have significant accumulations of suntan lotion, makeup or organic oils from tree debris it can be very useful. Most people don't have that problem.

    Polyquat/poly 60 consumes some chlorine, but continues to fight algae anyway. It is essentially useless if you have algae already, much better as a preventative.

    In the great majority of cases clarifier has no visible effect. When it works it can be like a miracle, the water is just suddenly clear after being persistently cloudy. For cleaning up after an algae bloom, floc is much more effective, and much more work, and it requires that you be able to vacuum to waste.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    The only thing I would add to Jason's excellent summary is that with PolyQuat 60 you HAVE to add a maintenance dose every week without fail. It does break down from chlorine, eventually to the point where it isn't effective (initially it breaks down into smaller parts that are still effective) and it can get filtered out since PolyQuat is also a clarifier. I used it years ago every other week in my own pool that had high phosphates and it seemed to work until my CYA level got to around 150 ppm. So every week would be needed to work reliably at higher CYA or when the FC got close to zero.

    With a phosphate remover, it's a pain in the rear with high phosphates initially, as Jason said, but you can go a week without a maintenance dose without causing a disaster UNLESS you get blown-in fertilized soil that spikes your phosphates all of a sudden. As Jason noted, fill water can have phosphates -- mine has 300-500 ppb. Until recently, the phosphate level in my pool was 2000-3000 ppb so go figure what the cost would be to reduce that. In my pool, I can't even vacuum to waste so keep that in mind as well for your customers' pools (remember that phophate removers work by precipitating lanthanum phosphate so that usually needs to be vacuumed and/or filtered and backwashed/cleaned to be removed).

    Another, more speculative option, would be to use 50 ppm Borates such as that in Proteam Supreme Plus. However, we don't have enough info to know the level of protection this would provide. It clearly helps, but I don't know how high the CYA level can get before algae would grow anyway.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    Thanks guys!

    Sounds like I should just stick with the Poly. This is what I've been using all along, per chem_geek's initial recommendations. Glad to know that it was the right call. I do make sure to stress to customers that diligence is required.

    Advising people on how to spend their money is serious stuff. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the advice that you folks have given.

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    It's unfortunate, but most people are simply not interested in explanations for my recommendations. I am convinced that even if I were to hand out fliers advertising this website and explaining the BBB method, 99% of them would just go to another pool store.

    (Funny anecdote from pool store life: A customer recently lodged a formal complaint against me with corporate because I encouraged him to purchase a quality test kit and test his own water daily. =). It's a crazy old world.)
    That's a very funny anecdote and speaks volumes about the average pool owner.

    We are all seeking the path of least resistance and everyone wants a maintenance-free pool........they don't exist.

    I see many newbies log on to this forum and leave immediately because what we teach appears too much trouble.

    Those that stay on the forum and get involved in the discourse are a cut above the average pool owner for sure. Their reward for the extra effort is an understanding of their pool they cannot gain from any other source.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    We bash pool stores around here a lot, so it's very interesting to hear from an employee perspective.

    In fact, I remember last summer being told I needed to drain/refill, and expressing my frustration/disbelief. The lady said something along the lines that if she had recommended $100 worth of chemicals, I wouldn't blink.. and she was right. That conversation led me to this forum to try to understand what the heck CYA was and why it was so high in my pool. But why couldn't she just tell me that the darn PUCKS were the cause?

    So I don't envy your position, but please try to remember that you will come across an occasional customer, like me, who wants to understand, and just doesn't know where to turn.

    Good luck!
    28K IG Vinyl lined pool - 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    Hayward DE 60sqft filter; Polaris 280 vacuum with booster pump

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    As someone who has worked in the retail side of this industry this thread is very refreshing! Most pool store customers want magic in a bottle and don't want to do any work to maintain their pools. It's only after a major meltdown that many of my customers would actually listen to me. The regulars on here know what I think of test strips but I routinely sold them to many of my customers because that is about all they were willing to do and at least they would know if there was chlorine in their pool or not.

    Definitely continue to recommend the polyquat 60. You can also recommend adding a borate product like Proteam Supreme or Poolife Endure if you carry one (we sold a lot of Supreme once word of mouth got around among our customers. It's amazing how much they can sell for you while waiting in line for a water test.)
    The phosphate remover is going to be the least satisfactory solution. Im many cases it really will have no impact on algae blooms if phosphates are not the limiting factor. Also, your customers will come back angry because the lanthenum chloride has caused their pool to go cloudy for a week! (Natural chemistry used to document this 'temporary effect' on their website but I haven't seen it lately! )

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    I sell poly 60 to a few customers, I have used it out on my route. I never used a copper based algicide like banish. Now, I have had great results using a Copper Sulphate (chelated copper) algicide. As long as the chlorine level is fine, no algae. All of the people I service here in FLorida, are relativly cheap every month. The pool stooges that come in here and ask how I do it with no problems, I tell them they need to understand a pool before the jump off the deep end and start cleaning pools for a living. Again I am not a huge supporter of any algicide, nor do I push it at this store. I only sell what the people need. It sounds crazy, but, the sales have increased 70% in the last 6 months because of honesty and knowledge. Isnt that how pool store should be?
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist $600 w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panel

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    lol, I too work at a pool store and i love seeing peoples faces when i tell them they have to drain half their pool to lower their 150ppm cya level. they say "oh, well uh, the water level is pretty low now from evaporation so i can just fill it back up a couple inches.." and i tell them "no. you need to drain more like a couple feet...or stop using tablets"

    I'm pretty much forced to sell people sodium bromide to kill their algae blooms because their cya levels are so high and they refuse to replace some of their water. its either that or "your going to need about 10 gallons of bleach and a gallon of acid to compensate for your high cya."

    I hate selling natural chemistry products because they are so expensive and i dont think they work, but people seem to love the stuff and the district manager likes when sales are high . i think its more of a placebo effect for most people. they think its the phosfree thats preventing their algae and not the 40k salt cell they have in their 12k gallon pool.
    Gilbert, Arizona
    30,000 gallon IG Salt Water Pool

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    Joshreis, welcome to TFP!!

    Sure sounds like you've got the right attitude
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    lol, after testing insane amounts of avg pool water, i kno that people for sure want the "magic chem" to keep there pools perfect. from my experiance phosfree does seem to be Very popular in that aspect. so many people let their chlorine level drop low once a week, and then test it, and then add chlorine once a week. well towards the few days of low chlorine in the week the low phosphate level seems to keep people safe from algea. I guess, lol. phosphates are a bit controversial, as any self researcher seems to find out. but it does seem to make people happy, and i guess thats what counts in this buisness. but chlorine is by far the best algea killer/preventer/enemy/xenophobe/destroyer/assasin. lol.

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    Re: Help the pool store guy! (please?)

    so many people let their chlorine level drop low once a week, and then test it, and then add chlorine once a week. well towards the few days of low chlorine in the week the low phosphate level seems to keep people safe from algea.
    Perhaps. Perhaps the addition of an algaecide like polyquat 60 would do the same thing. However, since the issue is low chlorine, wouldn't it be simpler to add additional chlorine to the pool so the problem never exists. Teaching people how to maintain adequate chlorine levels seems far more beneficial than adding an essentially unnecessary product into the pool.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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